Oral Medication May be more Effective than Topical for Killing Head Lice

Children's Health, Parenting
In a column I wrote for physicians nearly a decade ago, I discussed the growing use of oral medications, like ivermectin, for some topical skin infections. Now, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that in tough cases of head lice, Stromectol (ivermectin), which is "not approved for use in the US for head lice," eradicates the "parasites more effectively than" a lotion containing the insecticide malathion. According to a report in The Los Angeles Times, the researchers studied "812 people in 376 households in seven areas in the world," and found that in the "ivermectin group, 95% of the participants were lice-free after two weeks, compared with 85% of the malathion group." The Times adds, "Ivermectin is not approved for use in the US…
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Resistant Ringworm Common in Some Elementary Schools

Children's Health, Parenting
Treatment-resistant ringworm is common among urban elementary school children -- at least according to a new report from U.S. researchers. They studied 10,514 children in kindergarten through Grade 5 at 44 schools across the bi-state Kansas City metropolitan area, and found that 6.6 percent of them were infected with the fungus (T. tonsurans) that causes ringworm, which can cause scaly, itchy scalps and hair loss. Here are the details from a HealthDay article: Infection rates varied by age and race. More than 18 percent of black children in kindergarten and the first grade were infected. That rate dropped to 7 percent by fifth grade. Infection rates were 1.6 percent for Hispanic children and 1.1 percent for white children. The reasons for the higher rate among black children aren't clear. The study is…
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Stricter government oversight of dietary supplements may be moving closer – thank goodness

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
Whenever I give talks on natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements), whether to healthcare professionals or laypersons, people seem shocked to learn that these substances are virtually unregulated in the United States. I've written about the many problems this causes healthcare professionals and consumers in my book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely. So, I was very happy to read an AP article reporting "Stricter government oversight of dietary supplements is moving closer, thanks to an agreement among senators to include guidelines in" the Dietary Supplement Safety Act. The report says that in a letter sent to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) outlined "four key areas of…
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